General Events Guidelines
General Zero Waste Events Recycling Guide for Colleges and Universities

Prior to Event:

1. Get List of Annual and Special Events

  • Athletic Events
  • Conferences
  • Concerts, Fairs, etc

2. Waste Assessment for Event

  • Assess waste to be generated for each event. Typical materials include event programs, newspaper, and beverage containers. Also, each event may have materials such as food waste and cardboard which could require special collection and service procedures.
  • If existing recycling exists, assess service and volume to determine if the event will require additional service.

3. Preliminary Contacts

  • A. Event Coordinator
    • Contact event coordinator to propose event recycling.
    • Establish specific event times, prime site locations and materials to be collected.
    • Incorporate waste reduction in the event contract. For example:
      • At the UO, styrofoam (food/drink) containers are banned. Vendors need to adhere to this policy.
      • Prohibit use of neon/golden rod/heavily dyed paper for brochures and advertisements.
      • Provide waste reduction and recycling information sheet with event contract for all vendors.
  • B. Special Haulers & Collectors
    • Assess who is handling the waste. Do they have recycling services?
    • Try to establish trash and recycling pick-ups together.
    • Work out site locations and specific times this service will be needed.

4. Create an Events Operations Manual and Set-up Kit

  • Create a manual. Include specific event procedures, maps with site locations, event contact list, check list and a problems/improvements section.
  • Prepare a set-up kit. Include consistently labeled bins, easy-to-read signs, stanchions (wooded stands for attaching and elevating recycling signs so they are easy to see from a distance) and service collection containers.

5. Promotion and Education

  • Make sure vendors have recycling guidelines with up-to-date procedures.
  • Advertise recycling at the event. For example, make an announcement at halftime of an athletic event or on stage at a concert.
  • Encourage waste reduction. For example, at the UO Street Faire, and juice vendor developed a deposit system to reuse cups. The ELAW conference promotes reusable mugs by including a statement in the event brochure explaining that disposable cups won’t be provided.
During Event:

1. Set-up

  • Assess materials to be collected at each site.
  • Make sure signs and containers are easy to read and consistently labeled. Use stanchions for easy site identification.
  • Make sure recycling options are available at every garbage site and vice versa. *This is very important because people will recycle if bins are conveniently located next to garbage cans. Furthermore, this will reduce contamination in the recycling process.
  • Provide a separate vendor recycling site. Vendor sites should include collection for cardboard, glass, metals, mixed paper and food waste. For food waste collection, provide each vendor with a labeled bucket that can be collected into a central bin with a lid (toters work well). Arrange for composting. Community gardens always welcome additional compost.

2. Collection and Maintenance

  • Assign workers & volunteers monitoring and collection duties.
  • Keep sites well maintained and in convenient locations. Monitor sites between pick-ups.
  • Take notes on problems, ideas and suggestions for improvement at future events.

3. Tear Down and Clean-up

  • Know when to tear down sites. Remember materials are still generated during the clean-up process.
  • Make sure materials are processed, containers are cleaned (re-labeled if necessary) and event “kit” is ready for next event.
  • If outside haulers are picking up materials, confirm they’ve been picked up.

After Event:

1. Assess Process for Future

  • Debrief the event.
  • Consider how to increase amount recovered, decrease waste and assess efficacy of the recycling process.

2. Note Changes in Manual, Guidelines and Maps

3. Stay Alert for New Future Events


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